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This statistic isn’t funny: We’re losing clowns

By From page A2 | March 16, 2014

Is this Clownageddon?

The Clowns of America International president says his group’s membership has taken a pratfall – and Fairfield’s Corky the Magic Clown isn’t surprised.

“They come and go so fast,” said Corky of her fellow clowns. “A lot of times, people think we’re like fourth- or fifth-level (entertainers). They diminish us and they don’t like to pay the money that (clowns) are worth.”

She also said there are too many poser clowns – those who give bad names to clowns because they’re untrained.

It’s a worldwide jester crisis – the World Clown Association has seen its membership fall from about 3,500 a decade ago to 2,500. That’s a decrease of 28 percent, bozo.

“The challenge is getting younger people involved in clowning,” WCA president Deanna Hartmeirin told the New York Daily News.

Glen Kohlberger, the president of Clowns of America International, echoed those thoughts to the same newspaper.

“What’s happening is attrition. The older clowns are just passing away,” he said.

Younger merrymakers, he suggested, aren’t taking their seat in the clown car. And the standards for elite clowning are demanding.

Want proof? According to the Daily News, there were 531 applicants to the Ringling Bros. Clown College in 2013, but only 14 were selected to take part in a two-week boot camp and just 11 were offered jobs with the circus.

The Greatest Show on Earth employs 26 clowns – or about half as many as the Oakland Raiders. (Boom!)

David Kiser, the director of talent for Ringling Bros., said there’s a reason to be so picky.

“Our audience expects to be wowed,” he said. “No longer is it good enough to just drop your pants and focus on boxer shorts.”

Well, so much for my retirement plans, but Kiser’s point is echoed by Fairfield’s Corky the Magic Clown (real name Keri Doran).

“People are trying to do it to get extra money, but it’s a lot of work and emotional investment,” she said. “And it’s not that much extra money.”

Clowning is no joking matter, according to Corky. She considers herself a magician and stand-up comedian who wears the makeup, red nose and big shoes only because it’s expected.

Her show will often include an hour of magic, then balloon sculptures (which she says many other clowns take too lightly) or temporary tattoos. If there are 20 kids at a party – she says most of her work is with kids – it will cost about $250.

When you consider the price of hiring a bounce house (around $100 each) or ponies (minimum of $100 per hour), $250 for a few hours of magic and clowning isn’t that much. You get an entertainer in makeup who will thoroughly entertain those children who aren’t terrified.

Corky says clowning is good entertainment – but she says it is still competitive. Sometimes fiercely so.

“Some other clowns won’t even talk to other performers,” she said. “I think that’s sick. I’m not in competition with them.”

Wait. “Clowns” who won’t talk?

Mimes! Maybe that’s where all the clowns have gone!

Isn’t it rich?

Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope is a former Daily Republic editor. He began his career at the DR in the last millennium. He spent 24 years as a sports editor, associate editor and news editor before leaving the Daily Republic in 2014. Brad lives in Suisun City with his wife, Mrs. Brad, and two sons. He enjoys cheese.

Discussion | 11 comments

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  • Wally on the RunMarch 16, 2014 - 7:58 am


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  • Memories of "Humor Abuse" with Lorenzo PisoniMarch 16, 2014 - 8:05 am


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  • How to Think Like a Fool #5 - Try a Really Bad IdeaMarch 16, 2014 - 8:20 am


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  • SavetheRepublicMarch 16, 2014 - 9:51 am

    Oh Mr. Brad you are so irrational, I mean inspirational ! …. I may postpone my latest film effort ….. THE DAY OF THE DUCK : A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A MALLARD LIVING IN A LARGE DITCH OUTSIDE THE LOCAL WALMART …. This duck is just trying to build a nest, but the other conspiratorial ducks do not want this to happen, so they have hired a canine, “The Jackal” to disrupt the plans. See I am doing a DUCKUMENTARY with a subtle plot to it! How exciting ! [ See before I had always wanted to do an eye opening documentary on Bob and Betty the Burrowing Owls, one of the pairs of mated Burrowing Owls that live on the edge of the Green Tree Golf Course in Vacaville at the Corner of Orange Drive and Gilley Way, over by the Harley Dealership and Vacaville’s Famous Auto Row….. When in Vacaville please stop by your friendly Auto Dealers on Orange Drive, in the AMAZING COMMUNITY OF VACAVILLE CALIFORNIA….Remember our Slogan….VACAVILLE HAS IT ALL, LIVE LARGE WITH THE HOMETOWN FEEL OF VACAVILLE CALIFORNIA…..AND REMEMBER TO SUPPORT………. VACAVILLE COMMUNITY TELEVISION CHANNEL 27 ! .....Anyway, maybe I will postpone my film and instead me and the kid will make a clown costume, Simplicity Pattern 2849 available at the Vacaville Fabric store!

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  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrIJeHONrVIMarch 16, 2014 - 12:25 pm

    Vladimir Capuchin ... BTW....Remember to Duck... This is Mr. Brads attemptski to pilot a space vehicle....Moral of the Story ... Better leave the Mars flight to us Professional Space Monkeys....JUST SAY NO TO MR. BRAD IN SPACE ! THIS IS IMPORTANT PEOPLE

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  • Mr Brad's Part Time Job... He is saving up for a new clown carMarch 16, 2014 - 4:35 pm


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  • Be A Clown - Gene Kelly (The Pirate)March 16, 2014 - 5:52 pm


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  • Judy Garland - Be A Clown/Once In A LifetimeMarch 16, 2014 - 6:01 pm


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  • Bernadette Peters & Stephen Sondheim - "Send In the Clowns"March 16, 2014 - 6:08 pm


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  • Send In The Clowns (1987) - Shirley BasseyMarch 16, 2014 - 6:25 pm


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  • The MisterMarch 16, 2014 - 8:00 am

    Brad, have you looked in Washington DC? Sacramento? The government building in Fairfield? There are still plenty of clowns!

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